On the higher difficulties in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, the squad mate AI during any combat sequence would act in a way that would quickly lead to its own death. That is, the AI squad mates would leap out of cover and head directly toward oncoming fire. There were also instances of the AI deciding to take cover in an area far beyond their current position and therefore suffer a heavy barrage of damage en route. The only way to avoid this was to micromanage their moves.

My question is, has the AI improved enough to the point to where my squad mates prioritize not taking damage versus futily rushing the enemy? That is, will my squad mates still take a few foolish hits early in the battle and become useless on the ground unless I micromanage every move, or will the AI act with self-preservation in mind and remain effective in combat longer?

  • 1
    The way most bioware games seem to work is if you leave AI 'as is' they do ok on normal, and maybe hard, but if you want to survive on insane, you have to micro manage the hell out of them. Could be just laziness on the part of AI programming though, but it worked like this in DA as well.
    – l I
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


On Insanity mode the AI actually seems stupider, and does not have much sense of self-preservation, though I wouldn't call them actively suicidal. The AI will simply sit on an active grenade and let themselves die, they'll ignore an enemy bum-rushing our cover. They don't seem to get that they're about to die.

The AI also largely ignores their own powers; I often have to manually order my squad to use powers on roit shield targets, which they often happily ignore.

However, they are not suicidal in that they won't actively attempt to bum rush enemies and get themselves killed, but they seem very content to sit still and not use many powers or bullets. Yes, micromanaging is often necessary to keep them alive, and yes, they're going to spend a lot of time "dead" if you don't play a very good game on Insanity. But if you take charge in the battle and leave them behind they generally won't go out of their way to get killed.

  • This was pretty much my experience as well on Insanity mode. As long as you micromanage their offensive power usage, they seem to do a decent job of staying in cover and keeping themselves alive without requiring manual positioning. With this playstyle, I never noticed them doing anything particularly stupid, unlike in ME2 where they sometimes liked to stand on top of cover rather than hide behind it. The few times I had them die, it was usually due to them being charged by a Brute.
    – hammar
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 7:58
  • Also, especially on Insanity, the enemies seem to prioritize Shepard a lot more, so you can sometimes save a squadmate in trouble by popping out of cover for a moment to draw some fire.
    – hammar
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 8:00

To this I respond with a passionate NO.

NO for people who don't want the long version.

I'm on hardcore for my first play through the game and I generally find that if I don't manage my squad fairly closely that they die against most large mob packs. I'm an infiltrator though, so it's not so bad, I just stay back and cloak around as needed.

But overall I can not say more emphatically there seem to be no noticeable improvements to squad AI, or if there are, they don't come close to the improvements to enemy AI. Giving Bioware some of the benefit of the doubt I do think that's true too. It's much harder to snipe in 3 than it was in 2. Targets move and strafe much more erratically.

EDIT: I want to change my response on this because I've noticed some interesting quirks. Against some of the more brainless enemies like husks, team AI has been stellar. Against Cerberus strike teams though, they usually go down pretty quickly.

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    Interestingly, I have the opposite observation. My squadmates would always die immediately in ME2 on Insanity. In this game, they do a much better job keeping themselves alive. And sometimes they even shoot with their guns from cover in this one, instead of running around in the open!
    – Sterno
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 18:24
  • @Sterno which class and difficulty are you using for your first run through? Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 18:37
  • Soldier & Insanity. Imported character though, so I started at level 30, which maybe makes a difference?
    – Sterno
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 18:57
  • I started level 30 too... But I'm still not too far in yet I might just be "doing it wrong." Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 18:59

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